Our Team

We are the stewards of Laguna Canyon, advocating for our open space as the leading organization for education, public outreach, habitat restoration and trailwork in the canyons. We are a bridge between the open space and the surrounding world.

Alan is the Restoration Program Director and oversees the Habitat Restoration, Fuel Modification and Trail Stewardship work that LCF does in and around the South Coast Wilderness. In the five years since Alan joined LCF, this program has grown from one part-time employee to a team of eight, and from managing a few projects to over twenty projects impacting nearly 200 acres. Alan has always been passionate about the outdoors and has spent a decent chunk of his life living and working there, including leading wilderness expeditions, wildland firefighting, practicing and teaching primitive skills, working on backcountry trail crews and researching the effects of prescribed fire and mechanical thinning on forest ecosystems. When he’s not at work, he can generally be found spending time with his two incredibly wonderful daughters, in his shop building knives, or geeking out on science fiction, historical weapons, martial arts or maker culture.

Coming from a position primarily involving herptile husbandry and education, Alex is ready to hit the trails as a new Field Technician. Though, in between training and working on projects, you will no doubt find her eyes in the sky scanning for birds or on the ground looking for local herptiles. Alex was born and raised in southern California and earned her BS in Zoology at Humboldt State University where some of her fondest memories are hiking through the redwoods looking for salamanders. Currently, Alex is working on earning a PSMFWA at Oregon State University, and plans on putting it to good use for conservation of vital habitat and the amazing wildlife inhabiting them. When not working or studying, spends her free time with her nose in a good book (preferably science fiction or fantasy) or taking care of her mini menagerie which includes two dogs, one cat, one California Kingsnake, one Red-eared Slider, one Rose-hair Tarantula, and five Crested Geckos.

Alyssa is a returning seasonal field technician who first joined the foundation in 2018. She got her first taste of outdoor work in 2014 when she took a break from her studies at CSU Long Beach to join the CCC Backcountry Trails Program where she joined 16 strangers to live and work together in the remote Trinity Alps Wilderness without phone or internet access. She spent several more seasons as a trail worker before she returned to college. In spring 2018, she finished her bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology to pursue a career in Physical Therapy, but she quickly found herself returning to conservation work.

Alyssa has intense levels of curiosity that have led her to having “way too many hobbies.” Watercolor painting, woodworking and surfing are her most recent obsessions. Her other hobbies include birding, snowboarding, playing instruments, and finding sketchy scenic cliffs to sit on.

As Laguna Canyon Foundation’s Trail Outreach Coordinator, Antonio is both doing major dirt work on the trails and reaching out to the community about trail stewardship. If you join any of our trail volunteer days, you will be working side by side with Antonio.  A graduate of Humboldt State, Antonio loves backpacking, the ocean and spending time with his wife, Norma and her family.  Antonio is currently getting his NAUI certification and is committed to improving his broken Spanish.

Cade is a field technician helping to manage non-native plant populations in the South Coast Wilderness. He graduated summa cum laude from California State University Fullerton with a degree in biological science (ecology and evolutionary biology). After a trip to Pinnacle National Park in 2017 and volunteering monthly with California State Parks, Cade gained a newfound respect for conservation and decided to pursue a career in ecological restoration. This passion for the environment carries over to his work where he is dedicated to protect and preserve Southern California’s native biodiversity. In his free time, he enjoys reading and organizing his large collection of books, exploring different music genres, and taking hikes with friends and family.

Trading his rubber boots for hiking boots, craft beer brewer Chris is now spending his time in the coastal sage scrub habitat as a Restoration Technician.  A graduate from Arizona State University with a BS is Biological Sciences, Chris is currently attending ASU as an MS student in Biomimicry and Oregon State University focusing on ecology. Constantly curious, Chris proudly considers himself a generalist and believes that a sustainable future, one that accounts for social health, environmental health and economic health is one that is possible through shared knowledge, inclusion and grassroots organization.

Corey has lived in southern California for most of his life, other than a brief stay in the Bay Area where he attended California State University, East Bay earning a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and a Certificate in Cartography and GIS. Professionally, he has conducted surveys for the federally endangered Pacific Pocket Mouse and federally threatened Coastal California Gnatcatcher, which has pushed him to continue conservation within the environmental field. In his free time, Corey loves catching waves at the beach, watching Anaheim Ducks hockey, and quoting his favorite show The Office any chance he gets. 

 

Daniel studied Biodiversity Conservation and Management at the University of Kent in the UK and has done field work in Europe and South America as well as working as a Biologist in Southern California. He brings his passion for nature to the team and has spent years exploring the canyons in the Laguna Canyon Wilderness. He enjoys traveling, walking his dogs and exploring new areas.

Dulce Cortez is a second-year restoration technician. Dulce graduated from Humboldt State University earning a bachelor’s degree in Ecological Restoration and is currently earning a GIS certificate online through CSU Fullerton. She fell in love with the coastal sage scrub native vegetation when she volunteered a summer at the Santiago Creek Nature Center in Santa Ana during her undergrad. Her favorite native plant is white sage (Salvia apiana). She loves to hike with her dog Khaleesi, having multiple cups of coffee, watching her favorite shows the Office and Game of Thrones and hanging out with her family.

Derek is the Outreach and Development Director and works towards managing LCF’s marketing and community efforts along with the volunteer, education, and fundraising programs. He studied Natural Resource Management in his home state of Louisiana, graduating from the University of New Orleans. His career has ranged from leading adventure treks through the Atchafalaya Swamp, engaging with global communities on environmental and food justice issues, and educating the public through interpretive programming throughout Orange County’s coast and open spaces! When he isn’t working, Derek can generally be found near the ocean, hiking through open spaces in Orange County, or in the Sierras camping, backpacking, or fly fishing! He also loves to travel to new areas of California with his wife whenever they have the opportunity- most people say he’s seen more of California in his 5 years here than what many locals see in a lifetime!

Elle recently graduated from UCLA with a bachelors degree in marine biology, although it might seem to some that she went to school to study surfing. She has been learning and working in different areas of conservation science throughout her academic career including field work, research, and education. She is currently working on publishing two research papers, and hopes to pursue higher education after a heavily recommended gap year or two. Her goal is to make as much of a tangible positive impact on the health of our natural environment as possible, both with her long term career and her day to day life. Newfound free time outside of classes is spent in the ocean or pursuing one of her countless art projects. 

Erika graduated from Doane University with a degree in Environmental Science and Biology. While she was in college she also was a part of the softball team. Erika loves this job because she loves being outside and leaning how to become a better naturalist by observing the environment around her. Being a restoration technician is her true calling. Erika has also done restoration work for the Friends of Ballona Wetlands in Marina Del Rey. When she is not working, Erika enjoys working out, going to the record store, and hanging out with her dog Shaggy (who is her best friend). A fun fact about Erika is that she is somewhat ambidextrous!

Hallie is the Executive Director of Laguna Canyon Foundation. She heads up LCF’s advocacy efforts, fundraises, and makes sure staff have the tools and resources to do their jobs. She was born and raised in Laguna Canyon. After a brief stint in Washington DC and almost fifteen years in Los Angeles working in marine conservation for Heal the Bay, she joined Laguna Canyon Foundation in 2013. Hallie lives in Laguna with Atticus the lab and her two kids, some of whom enjoy camping, hiking and being outdoors just as much as she does. She loves good beer, and according to her kids, her favorite food is kale.

Jacky is Senior Director of Operations and focuses on resource management, systems integration, strategic planning, budgeting and Laguna Canyon Foundation’s JEDI program. Jacky came from OC Parks where she served for more than 15 years in several roles, including Park Ranger at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park and Parks Division Manager overseeing a third of field operations. Her biggest career accomplishments were enhancing the Park Ranger Academy and creating the Park Ranger Field Training Program. She thrives in discovering how to improve processes with creative solutions. Jacky’s passion is connecting people to the wilderness and sharing her appreciation of our incredible open space. She loves backpacking as light as possible, running and hot yoga, favorite pose Shavasana. Jacky tries to stay active and centered to help her keep up with her two young very active children.

Joanne joined the LCF Education Team in 2011.  Her passion is being outdoors helping children discover and explore the wonders of nature and the wilderness. She is small in stature but has a big heart for the kids she hikes with.  She will tell you this has been the best job she has ever had.  She has a BA in Child Development from California State University Long Beach.  Joanne has been an educator and instructor in both classroom and business settings and has developed educational programs for both children and adults.  She tries to spend as much time as she can with her grandson shooting hoops (not very successfully) talking, and laughing a lot.  If she isn’t on a trail, you will likely find her walking at the Dana Point Harbor or Doheny Beach or at home in front of a TV lifting weights with the Peloton instructors or doing Zumba.

Paula likes to say she worked her entire career for this job.  Using both her corporate background and her hiking boots, Paula balances her time between crunching numbers and working in the wilderness. Paula lives along a canyon in Laguna Beach with her husband, Brian, and their two rescue dogs, Reggae and Joan Miró. Off the trails, she is commissioner of her Family Fantasy Football League, Bad Shrimp, and her favorite yoga pose is Lizard. 

 

Robin likes to describe her job as a glorified landscaper. Her favorite part of the season is planting, which starts each November. Every day is filled with new experiences, including seeing many kinds of wildlife. Robin is currently attending Cal State Long Beach to earn a degree in Environmental Geography, furthering her knowledge in the field she’s so passionate account. She loves adventuring outdoors in her free time, from hiking to camping to rock climbing. She’s been told people hear her before they see her.

Quote from Robin: “I love plant.”

Ryan studied Agriculture Science at The California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, where one of his proudest moments while attending was hand-picking hundreds of pounds of produce on the campus farm.  He says that he will always be a student and strives to never stop learning what life has to teach, especially with help from his generously knowledgeable team-members.  Being born and raised in South OC, Ryan has always had a deep curiosity toward nature and is now overwhelmingly grateful for playing a part in an organization that strives to protect it.  Outside of work, Ryan may be seen passing by on his bicycle, in the kitchen experimenting with plant-based foods, or attempting to tame his ferocious kitten Mariposa.

Sara is the resource coordinator, handling all the administrative flow between different departments of Laguna Canyon Foundation. Sara enjoys connecting with all the people who make up LCF: the employees, board, outside partners, volunteers, and the community. Originally from Laguna Beach, Sara is a passionate advocate for wildlife conservation and sustainable development. She has a BS in Biology from UC Santa Cruz and an MS in Applied Ecology & Conservation from the University of East Anglia (UK). Sara spent 6 years overseas, studying and working in the UK, Germany, Portugal, France, Ecuador, and Mauritius. In her free time, Sara enjoys live music and karaoke, running, and traveling. She will likely be the first person you see when you come into LCF Headquarters, come by and say hi!

 

As Operations and Communications Director, Theresa manages the administrative side of Laguna Canyon Foundation’s work. She handles the organization’s finances, human resources, IT, and copyediting – if it doesn’t fall under someone else’s job description, it’s probably her responsibility! Theresa’s passion for conservation brought her to the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she earned her master’s degree in Environmental Science and Management. When she’s not saving the planet through the magic of bookkeeping, Theresa enjoys baking, reading, and patiently explaining the difference between Star Wars and Star Trek to anyone who will listen.

Taylor graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a B.A. in Sociology and the University of California, Irvine with a Master’s in Conservation and Restoration Science.  With a background in social and environmental sciences, she hopes to help educate others the importance of restoring and conserving Southern California’s beautiful landscapes. Taylor loves working in the great outdoors and learning what nature has to teach her. When she’s not at work, she can be found hanging out at the beach with her dog or curled up reading a good book.

 

Virginia “Ginny” Gregurek is a Field Educator with over fifteen years experience teaching tidepool education and leading interpretive walks. She is an avid hiker and has backpacked over 400 miles. Ginny’s formal education is in Art History and she uses the knowledge of interpreting the masterworks of mankind to interpret the masterwork of Mother Nature. Recognizing the value of environmental literacy she obtained a California Master Naturalist Certificate from the University of California. When not exploring the great outdoors Ginny enjoys playing backgammon and writing stories.

Want to know more?

Come to one of our events and chat with staff and volunteers.  We’d love to meet you.

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